Two of the names on the Roll of Honour in the yew tree at the entrance to St. Mary’s Churchyard in Nonington are those of Captain Eric Penn and Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Mark Penn, brothers who were both killed in action during 1915.
At the time of the presentation of the Roll of Honour on 23rd May, 1917, by Mrs. Gladys Penn, the widow of Captain Penn, the parents of the two brothers, William and Constance Penn, were the tenants at St. Alban’s Court, Nonington, owned by Captain Egerton Hammond. The Penn family business was John Penn and Sons, an English engineering company based in London and mainly known for its marine steam engines, which had been founded by the captain’s grandfather and was almost certainly the source of the teak and copper used to make the Roll of Honour
Captain Eric Frank Penn [17th April, 1878 – 18th October, 1915] of the Grenadier Guards, was killed at the age of 37 when a shell fell on his dug-out opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt at Auchy-les-Mines near Loos-en-Gohelle in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France on 18th October, 1915. Captain Penn is buried or commemorated at Vermelles British Cemetery, grave reference I.K. 11.
Captain Penn’s Wikipedia entry is worth looking at as it records his career as a cricketeer which included playing for Cambridge University and the M.C.C. William Penn, the Captain’s father, had himself played for Kent County Cricket Club in the 1870s.
Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Mark Penn [20th April, 1886-11th February, 1915] of the 6th Battalion (Reserve) of The Rifle Brigade, was the youngest brother of Eric Penn. Geoffrey Penn was aged 27 when he was killed instantaneously by a German sniper on 11th February, 1915, whilst directing trench work near Ploegsteert [Plugstreet] in Flanders when attached to 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. He is buried in the Rifle House Cemetery at Ploegsteert in Belgium, grave reference IV.H.6.
Geoffrey Peen had been educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, before going to the South East Agricultural College in Wye in Kent from 1910 to 1912.
The third brother, Arthur Horace Penn, mentioned as recovering from wounds received on active service with the Grenadier Guards in Captain Penn’s obituary, survived the war and went on to have a distinguished career in the army and in Royal service.